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France to give every prisoner landline telephone

Staff Writer |
France is to install a landline telephone in every prison cell across the country after a successful trial.

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The minister for justice this week confirmed that a telephone will be placed in each of the 50,000 cells in the 178 prisons in France, in a bid to slash the growing use of forbidden mobile phones and internet-connected smartphones, The Connexion reported.

Prisoners will have free access to the phones 24/7, but will only be able to call up to four outside numbers that have been authorised beforehand.

The roll-out comes after a successful trial at the Montmédy prison (Meuse), which saw prisoners use their allotted calling numbers regularly.

During the trial, the use of prohibited mobile phones decreased by 30%; a percentage that was also helped by the seizure - in the first trimester of 2017 - of 200,000 mobile phones, SIM cards and chargers.

The number of calls made by prisoners significantly increased, in comparison to when inmates only had access to phones in public spaces (many of which were broken, and could often not be used as guards did not have time to supervise them properly).

Prisoners also spent four times’ as long on average actually speaking on calls.

The plan to install phones will therefore be rolled out at the same time as a €15 million plan to improve and update the prison network’s mobile phone signal-blocking technology, which is currently said to be out-of-date and ineffective.

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